A report for the Centre for Policy Studies has argued that the current social care system is financially and politically unsustainable, opaque, unfair and actively discourages local councils from investing in care and housing for older people.
Former Cabinet Minister Damian Green, who as First Secretary of State commissioned the Government’s social care Green Paper, has put forward his funding reform plans in the report, Fixing the Care Crisis.
He warned: “The situation is urgent and will only get more serious in the decades ahead.”
As All Party Parliamentary Group on Longevity Chair, Damian Green proposed a state provision of a Universal Care Entitlement, which could be topped up by private support for those who want it through a Care Supplement.
Universal Care Entitlement would be funded by diverting savings from the Spending Review and taxing the winter fuel allowance as well as by imposing a 1% National Insurance surcharge on people over the age of 50, which he said would be a last resort.
The report said that reform must follow four key principles. It must provide more money for social care and ensure it is spent wisely; be fair across generations and between individuals; ensure no one is forced to sell their own home; and end the “dementia lottery”.
It also said the supply of care beds and the provision of retirement housing should be increased, and public and cross-party consensus be secured.
To ensure that everyone has access to a reasonable standard of care, extra funding is needed. But, according to Damian Green, more private money should be brought into the system in the longer term, “not least to fund those who want more extensive or expensive care provision beyond the state-provided entitlement”.
Centre for Policy Studies Director Robert Colvile gave his support to the report, saying “...Damian’s proposals would pass all the key tests. The system would be sustainable, there would be protection against the ‘dementia lottery’, no one would have to sell their own homes, everyone would have access to a decent level of essential care, and those who paid in more would get access to extras such as bigger rooms or more frequent excursions.”
He added: “I urge politicians from all parties to consider these proposals extremely carefully.”
However, County Councils Network Spokesman for Adult Social Care Cllr David Williams accused the report of presenting “overly-simplistic arguments on why there is insufficient residential properties across the country”. He said it ignored the fact that in the rural areas with the highest proportion of elderly residents, the social care local authority is not the planning authority, and that it does not touch on the fragile nature of local care markets.
The report is available at www.cps.org.uk.
Last reviewed 30 April 2019